Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to implement a solution that would address the current driving test backlog.
He said it was unacceptable that over 25,000 driving test applicants are being left “in limbo”, having already completed the essential training prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Many of these applicants are depending on this licence to ensure that they can travel to work. As it stands, they have to be accompanied by a qualified driver as they only have a provisional licence.”
“But this isn’t always possible and some people may have to break this rule if they want to get to and from work, particularly in rural Ireland where public transport isn’t as widely available as it might be in urban areas.”
The Roscommon-Galway TD continued to state that those affected are being backed into a corner by the indecisiveness and ambiguity of Minister Shane Ross.
Fitzmaurice has proposed a solution to this problem of adopting a similar system to the motorbike test, which would allow tests to go ahead without breaking social distancing guidelines.
“The applicant could be given a copy of the route and the instructor could follow behind in their own vehicle, while maintaining communication via a headset or Bluetooth speaker. A go-pro camera could be used to allow the instructor view the applicant’s driving abilities, without having to sit in the car while they navigate the route.”
“Technology is available which can assist with this issue, but we must be willing to take advantage of the opportunity. Otherwise, the backlog is only going to get worse and applicants will be forced to way for months on end to get an opportunity to sit the test,” Fitzmaurice concluded.